- Bill to define Delhi L-G’s powers moved in Lok Sabha
- Even with 33% cut India second largest arms importer
- SC asks Centre, EC to respond on consequence of NOTA
- Kerala HC allows transgender woman to join NCC
- ‘Bee fences’ to ward off elephant attacks
- RS passes bill giving institutes in TN & Haryana INI status
- SC steps in to protect Great Indian Bustard
- INS Jalashwa Reaches Comoros: Mission Sagar-IV
BILL TO DEFINE DELHI L-G’S POWERS MOVED IN LOK SABHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a bill in the Lok Sabha where it proposed that “government” in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Governance and Government Policies)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Administration of the Union Territories (Article 239)
- Who is a Lieutenant governor?
- What are the differences between Governor and Lieutenant Governor?
- Special Provisions with respect to Delhi (Article 239AA)
- The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021
- NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018)
- NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India: Issues and possible solutions
- How is it back to square one regarding Lt. Governor going against the Government?
Administration of the Union Territories (Article 239)
- The Union Territories of India are administered by the President of India through an administrator, who is appointed by the President with a suitable designation.
- This designation is either a Lieutenant-Governor or Chief Commissioner or Administrator.
- The President may appoint a Governor of an adjoining state as the administrator of a Union territory as well. In such case the Governor works independently with regard to the administration of the Union Territory.
Who is a Lieutenant governor?
- In India, a lieutenant governor is in charge of a union territory (including National Capital Territory NCT of Delhi) in a similar manner as the Governors of the states of India.
- The rank of lieutenant governor is present only in the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Puducherry.
- The other territories have an Administrator appointed, who is usually an IAS officer or a retired judge of a court. However, the governor of Punjab acts as the administrator of Chandigarh.
- The Governors and Lieutenant-Governors are appointed by the president for a term of five years.
What are the differences between Governor and Lieutenant Governor?
|Governor is appointed under Article 153.||As per Article 239, every UT in India shall be administered by the President, through an administrator to be appointed by him. This position is called Lieutenant Governor in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry and Delhi.|
|Governor is constitutional head of the states.||Lt. Governor is an administrator and not a constitutional head of the Union Territories.|
|Article 153- 167 of Indian constitution deals with state executive (Gov+CM+Council of Ministers+Advocate general of the states).||Article 239 to 241 deal with UTs|
|States have their own government.||UTs are directly governed by Union.|
|Governors works as per the advice of the Council of ministers.||In this regard, the Supreme court in 2017 said that Lt. Governor of Delhi has more power than Governor of any state. He doesn’t have to listen to the Council of Ministers.|
|The governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies with the Chief ministers of the states and his/her councils of ministers.||In union territories, the real power lies with the lieutenant governor or administrator, except in NCT of Delhi and Puducherry where he/she shares power with a council of ministers headed by a chief minister.|
Special Provisions with respect to Delhi (Article 239AA)
- Article 239AA was inserted by 69th Amendment Act, 1991, which provides special provisions for the Union Territory of Delhi, and since this amendment came into effect, the UT of Delhi is called the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
- The administrator of the NCT as appointed by the President and is known as the Lieutenant-Governor.
- Through Article 239AA, a legislative assembly for NCT of Delhi was created, and the power to decide the number of the seats and reservation of the seats was vested in the Parliament.
- With this, Delhi became a State and the Constitutional provisions with regard to Elections (Article 324-327 and 329) became applicable in NCT.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021
- The Bill is likely to clearly define the powers of the LG and the Delhi government on the lines of the Supreme Court judgment of 2019 and also likely to give more teeth to the LG’s office. (The 2019 Supreme Court verdict upheld the MHA’s 2015 notifications authorizing the LG to exercise powers in relation to services and directing the Anti-Corruption Branch ACB of police not to take cognizance of offences against Central government officials as “legal”).
- The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G of Delhi even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
- The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her/his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
- It also says that the L-G will not assent any bill passed by the Delhi Assembly that “covers any of the matters which falls outside the purview of the powers conferred on the Legislative Assembly.”
NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018)
The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Government of NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018) said: “The exercise of establishing a democratic and representative form of government for NCT of Delhi by insertion of Articles 239AA and 239AB would turn futile if the Government of Delhi that enjoys the confidence of the people of Delhi is not able to usher in policies and laws over which the Delhi Legislative Assembly has powers to legislate for the NCT of Delhi.”
NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India: Issues and possible solutions
- The judgment enunciates lofty principles concerning constitutional morality, co-operative federalism, constitutional conscience, pragmatic federalism, etc.
- It tells the State government that it should remember that Delhi is a special category Union Territory and lays down the parameters to enabling the harmonious functioning of the government and the Lt. Governor.
- The Supreme Court has settled the law in regard to the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers by affirming that the Lt. Governor is BOUND TO ACT ON THE AID AND ADVICE EXCEPT IN RESPECT OF ‘LAND’, ‘PUBLIC ORDER’ AND THE ‘POLICE’.
- The Court has also made it clear that there is no requirement of the concurrence of the Lt. Governor and that he has NO power to overrule the decisions of the State government.
- In the operationalization of Article 239AA (4) (proviso) which says that in the case of a difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lt. Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to that decision (and “President’s decision” in reality means the decision of the Union Government).
- In the meantime, if the Lt. Governor thinks that the matter is urgent, he can take immediate action on his own – (bringing the matter back to square one).
How is it back to square one regarding Lt. Governor going against the Government?
If a Lt. Governor, for example, wants to frustrate the efforts of the government, he can declare that there is a difference of opinion on any issue decided by the elected government and refer it to the President which in reality means the Union Home Ministry, and the Lt. Governor being its representative, it is easier for him to secure a decision in his favour.
- The recent appointment of prosecutors for conducting the Delhi riot cases in the High Court is a case in point.
- As per the High Court and the Supreme Court, the appointment of prosecutors is exclusively within the purview of the State government.
- When the government decided to appoint them, the Lt. Governor referred it under proviso to Article 239AA (4) to the President stating that there is a difference of opinion between him and the government over this matter.
- In the meantime, the Lt. Governor appointed all the prosecutors whose names were submitted by the Delhi Police and thus the State government’s list was rejected.
-Source: The Hindu
EVEN WITH 33% CUT INDIA SECOND LARGEST ARMS IMPORTER
India’s arms imports fell 33 % between 2011-15 and 2016-20, said a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
GS-III: Indian Economy (Government Budgeting, International Trade)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Highlights of the SIPRI report on India’s Arms Import/Export
- Explaining falling military imports in India
- Military Export trends of India
Highlights of the SIPRI report on India’s Arms Import/Export
The five largest arms exporters in 2016-20 were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China, while the top importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China.
About reduction of India’s military Imports
- According to SIPRI, India accounted for 0.2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20, making the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms.
- India’s arms imports fell 33 % between 2011-15 and 2016-20 and this drop in imports was mainly attributed to an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms and complex procurement processes.
- Russia was the most affected supplier, although India’s imports of US arms also fell by 46%.
- India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (accounting for 49% of India’s imports), France (18%) and Israel (13%).
About India’s Export of Military equipment
- India accounted for 0.2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20, making the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms.
- This represents an increase of 228% over India’s export share of 0.1 % during the previous five-year period of 2011-15.
- Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius were the top recipients of Indian military hardware.
Explaining falling military imports in India
Growing indigenization is not the sole reason for falling imports, it is also because of the cancellation of some big-ticket items
- India cancelled the India-Russia joint venture for the development of the advanced Su-57 stealth Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) in 2018 due to delays and not having the actual “5th gen” capabilities
- In 2015, we also reduced the size of the original acquisition of 126 Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) from Dassault to 36 aircraft
- Delays in the supplies of T-90 battle tanks, and Su-30 combat aircraft from Russia and submarines from France, in 2009-13 and 2014-18, also depressed imports.
Military Export trends of India
- The trends look positive on the export front, as between 2012 and 2019, Indian defence exports, both Public and private, have seen a surge
- The sharp rise in defence export products can be attributed to the measures introduced by Government.
- In 2014, the government delisted or removed several products that were restricted from exports.
- It dispensed with the erstwhile No Objection Certificate (NOC) under the DPP restricting exports of aerospace products, several dual-use items and did away with two-thirds of all products under these heads.
- Small naval crafts account for the bulk of India’s major defence exports. However, export of ammunition and arms remain low.
-Source: The Hindu
SC ASKS CENTRE, EC TO RESPOND ON CONSEQUENCE OF NOTA
The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Election Commission of India to respond to a plea that fresh elections should be conducted in constituencies where the maximum votes polled are NOTA.
The petition said candidates ‘rejected’ by voters should not be fielded again in the fresh polls.
GS-II: Indian Polity (Governance, Government policies)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About None of The Above (NOTA) votes
- Why have NOTA if there’s ‘no electoral value’?
- About the Developments in the recent Plea regarding NOTA
About None of The Above (NOTA) votes
- None of The Above (NOTA) is a ballot option designed to allow the voter to indicate disapproval of all of the candidates in a voting system.
- However, NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’. – The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.
- The option of NOTA for Lok Sabha and assembly elections was prescribed by the SC in 2013 in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India judgment.
- The option of NOTA in RS polls was introduced by the EC in 2014. Thus, India became the 14th country to institute negative voting.
Why have NOTA if there’s ‘no electoral value’?
- NOTA gives people dissatisfied with contesting candidates an opportunity to express their disapproval.
- This, in turn, increases the chances of more people turning up to cast their votes, even if they do not support any candidate, and decreases the count of bogus votes.
- The Supreme Court has observed that negative voting could bring about “a systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidates”.
About the Developments in the recent Plea regarding NOTA
- The plea seeks to empower the electorate with the “right to reject” and nudge political parties to present voters with a better choice of candidates to pick from.
- However, the SC noted that if voters kept rejecting candidates, Parliament/Assembly seats would continue to remain vacant, affecting legislative functioning.
- The petition also noted how parties spent crores of rupees on the candidates.
- The plea noted that the ‘right to reject’ was first proposed by the Law Commission in its 170th Report in 1999 and the Election Commission had twice endorsed ‘right to reject’.
-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express
KERALA HC ALLOWS TRANSGENDER WOMAN TO JOIN NCC
The Kerala High Court allowed a transgender woman to seek admission into the National Cadet Corps (NCC), the youth wing of the Indian armed forces, saying the fact that the NCC act does not recognise the third gender cannot be a reasonable justification to deny entry to a transgender person.
GS-I: Indian Society (Issues in Indian Society, Social Issues related to Gender Discrimination and Developments in Indian Society)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Who are Transgenders?
- What is the difference between Sex and Gender?
- Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act
- Criticisms of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019
- National Council for Transgender Persons
- About the Recent Kerala HC Judgement
Who are Transgenders?
- The term ‘Transgender’ refers to those who don’t identify themselves completely with either of the dichotomous genders – male/female.
- The American Psychological Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health define them as ‘people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as man or woman) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex.
- This grouping constitutes a significant minority, estimated to be around 25 crores globally in number.
- They are non-heterosexual individuals.
What is the difference between Sex and Gender?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly demarcated the difference between these often interchangeably used terms.
- According to WHO, Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women while Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act
- The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
- According to the Act, a Certificate of identity for Transgender persons can be obtained by the transgender person by making an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to:
- Education, employment, healthcare.
- Access to or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
- Right to movement, right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property.
- Opportunity to hold public or private office.
- Access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
- The Bill also seeks to provide rights of health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centers, and sex reassignment surgeries.
- It also states that the government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.
- It calls for establishing a National Council for Transgender persons (NCT).
- It states that the offences against transgender persons will attract imprisonment between six months and two years, in addition to a fine.
Criticisms of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019
- The Bill does not have any provision for self-determination of gender. The transgender community has questioned the certificate of identity.
- It fails to address the lack of an effective mechanism to enforce the legal prohibition against discrimination on the ground of gender identity.
- It does not make provision for affirmative action in employment or education despite the Supreme Court’s mandate in National Legal Services Authority NALSA v. Union of India (UOI) case (2014).
- The Bill sets out lighter sentences for several criminal offences, such as “sexual abuse” and “physical abuse”, when they are committed against transgender people.
National Council for Transgender Persons
- The National Council for Transgender Persons is India’s First and is a Statutory Body since it is formed under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
- It is constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- The main aim of the National Council for Transgender Persons is to mainstream the transgender community’s concerns, focusing on livelihood issues as well as to raise awareness about the trans community, so that transgender persons are accepted within families and in the larger society.
- Another aim is to ensure that transgender welfare boards are set up in all States and essential needs of the transgender community, like housing, food, healthcare and education are met.
Functions of the National Council for Transgender Persons
- Advising the Central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
- Reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments.
- Redressing grievances of transgender persons.
- Performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.
Composition of the National Council for Transgender Persons
- The Chairperson of the National Council for Transgenders will be the Union Minister of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- It will consist of Representatives from five states or Union Territories (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions, on a rotational basis) and Five members of the transgender community (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions).
- The council will also have joint secretary-level members from the Ministries of Health, Home, Minority Affairs, Education, Rural Development, Labour and Law.
- In addition, there will be a member from the Department of Pensions (Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions), NITI Aayog, National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women.
About the Recent Kerala HC Judgement
- The Judgement came during the hearing of a petition challenging a section of the NCC act that only allowed males and females to enrol with the cadet corps.
- The Kerala HC observed that: In view of the specific provisions of the 2019 act, a transgender person has the right to be recognised not only as a transgender but also a right to self-perceived gender, i.e., the female gender.
- The court directed the NCC to amend its enrolment criteria and allow the provision to include transgender persons as eligible for seeking admission in the cadet corps.
-Source: Hindustan Times
‘BEE FENCES’ TO WARD OFF ELEPHANT ATTACKS
A pilot project launched in Kodagu, Karnataka, entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape.
This idea stems from the elephants’ proven fear of the bees.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Man-Animal Conflict, Conservation of Ecology)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Human-Elephant Conflicts
- Recently in news: Surakhsya portal for Human-Elephant conflict
- About the Pilot Project regarding usage of Bees for avoiding Human-Elephant conflicts
- Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.
- When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.
- Such encounters foster resentment against the elephants amongst the human population and this can result in elephants being viewed as a nuisance and killed.
- In addition to the direct conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants also suffer indirect costs like degradation of habitat and loss of food plants.
Recently in news: Surakhsya portal for Human-Elephant conflict
- The National Portal on human-elephant conflict called “Surakhsya” was launched on World Elephant Day August 2020.
- The National Portal was launched for collection of real time information & also for managing the conflicts on a real time basis will help to set the data collection protocols, data transmission pipelines and data visualization tools to enable policy-makers to leverage HEC data for policy formulation and for preparation of Action Plans for mitigation of conflicts.
About the Pilot Project regarding usage of Bees for avoiding Human-Elephant conflicts
- The pilot project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) was launched in Kodagu district of Karnataka by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
- The project intends to create “bee-fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees, the periphery of Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve, known conflict zones.
- The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
-Source: The Hindu
RS PASSES BILL GIVING INSTITUTES IN TN & HARYANA INI STATUS
The Rajya Sabha passed the National Institutes of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019 that confers the status of national importance on two food technology institutes at Kundli in Haryana and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.
Prelims, GS-II: Social Justice (Government Interventions and Schemes regarding Education)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Institutes of National Importance (INI)
- National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
Institutes of National Importance (INI)
- Institute of National Importance (INI) is a status that may be conferred on a premier public higher education institution in India by an act of Parliament of India, an institution which “serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state”.
- Institutes of National Importance receive special recognition and funding from the Government of India.
- As of 2021, there are more than 150 institutes declared as Institutes of National Importance under a distinct Act of Parliament. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) form a major group in this list.
National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
- The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was launched by the Minister of Human Resource Development in 2015.
- This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
The parameters considered for NIRF rankings are:
- Teaching, Learning and Resources,
- Research and Professional Practices,
- Graduation Outcomes,
- Outreach and Inclusivity and
-Source: The Hindu
SC STEPS IN TO PROTECT GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD
The Supreme Court intervened on behalf of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About the Great Indian Bustard
- SC’s recent hearing on Power Lines threatening the GIB
About the Great Indian Bustard
- The Great Indian Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world often found associated in the same habitat as blackbuck.
- The GIB is Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and comes under the Appendix I of CITES, and Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The Great Indian Bustard’s habitat includes Arid and semi-arid grasslands with scattered short scrub, bushes and low intensity cultivation in flat or gently undulating terrain. It avoids irrigated areas.
- Threats to the GIB include widespread hunting for sport and food, and activities such as mining, stone quarrying, excess use of pesticides, grassland conversion and power projects along with the expansion of roads and infrastructures such as wind-turbines and power cables.
SC’s recent hearing on Power Lines threatening the GIB
- A bench of the Supreme Court will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones to save one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet.
- The CJI suggested that: wherever there is high voltage power lines, they can use flight bird divertors even if the recurring costs are high, and wherever there are overhead low voltage lines, these lines can be placed underground.
- The SC was informed that only low voltage lines can go underground but not the high voltage ones.
- The court found further that an alternative mechanism — to install flight bird divertors — to guide the birds away from the power lines would be expensive. In fact, the court discovered that the divertors, with their recurring costs, would end costing more than installing and maintaining underground lines.
-Source: The Hindu
INS JALASHWA REACHES COMOROS: MISSION SAGAR-IV
Indian Naval Ship (INS) Jalashwa reached Port Anjouan in Comoros to deliver 1,000 tonnes of rice as part of the Mission Sagar-IV.
Prelims, GS-I Geography, GS-II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- About INS Jalashwa (L41)
- About Comoros
- About SAGAR
About INS Jalashwa (L41)
- INS Jalashwa is the largest amphibious ship of Indian Navy and the only Indian naval ship to be acquired from the United States.
- Formerly known as USS Trenton, INS Jalashwa along with six Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters were procured from the United States by India.
- The Comoros is an island country in the Indian Ocean, whose capital and largest city is Moroni.
- It is located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa.
- It shares maritime borders with Madagascar and Mayotte to the southeast, Tanzania to the northwest, Mozambique to the west, and the Seychelles to the northeast.
- The religion of the majority of the population, and the official state religion, is Sunni Islam.
As a member of the Arab League, it is the only country in the Arab world which is entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) was launched in 2015. It is India’s strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
- Further, India seeks to safeguard its national interests and ensure Indian Ocean region to become inclusive, collaborative and respect international law.
- The key relevance of SAGAR emerges when seen in conjunction with India’s other policies impacting the maritime domain like Act East Policy, Project Sagarmala, Project Mausam, India as ‘net security provider’, focus on Blue Economy etc.
-Source: The Hindu